Re: Santa Fe reefers in Boston

Douglas Harding

I would echo Bruce’s comments (though he intermingles PFE and SFRD, causing a little confusion). The produce regions served by the ATSF (and PFE) generated produce that was in demand across the country. ATSF maintained a large fleet of reefers marked SFRD for the express purpose of getting that produce to the markets as quickly as possible. Boston was a large enough market to warrant full car loads direct from the growers.


Unlike livestock, produce did not require a feed and rest stop. They were merely paused for re-icing. The cars were not stopped and contents transferred to another reefer enroute. The only way this might happen is if a broker purchased multiple car loads, had the loads sent to the broker’s warehouse, where the loads were mixed with other loads and reloaded on cars for distribution. Think a grocery warehouse distribution center, of which there were probably a number in the Boston area. The broker would then send out cars to local areas, ie branch lines throughout New England, but these would not necessarily be SFRD or PFE reefers. More likely a reefer from the region was used for this final distribution. So in Boston you would see SFRD and PFE reefers sitting next to reefers marked MDT, BAR, B&M, WFGE and the like.


Doug Harding


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